Catalonia October 2017

Newspaper front page 2nd October Catalonia

My week in the sun coincided with the independence referendum in Catalonia. Despite a crash course in Catalonia’s 1,000-year history – from a buffer zone between Christian France and Muslim Spain to being a major player in the Spanish Civil War. The Catalan Republic fought against Franco’s nationalist army and in the 36 years afterwards suffered Franco’s revenge. After Franco’s death in 1975, new generations continued the struggle for independence from Madrid through parliamentary means. Domination by the Madrid government over the centuries seems to be the major issue.

In some respects, the Catalan struggle mirrors the struggle for Home Rule between Dublin and London in the 19th century. But in the 21st century Europe, conservative centralism attempts to stifle dissent by minorities by way of threats of legal barriers and threats of financial and commercial chaos on those who would ‘rock the boat’. To quote Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of Law, HEC Paris  “due to its natural hostility towards citizens’ input, the EU is particularly vulnerable to political actors speaking on behalf of the people”. There are always at least two sides and various extremes – authoritarian and libertarian – democracy is not 50%+1, dialogue takes at least two voices and consensus must allow all parties to ‘live & let live’.

There is the example of the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, an event that saw the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Irish Times of Saturday 14th October has several interesting articles on the Spanish situation and probable future developments in the EU as the centre faces multible local demands for independence – the stress of the plurinational states.

In response to Storm Ophelia I have added the link to website https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-29.53,14.42,437/loc=-11.276,51.358 .

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An Lianadh – Dublin City Transition

An Lianadh Dublin City Transition is a recently re – formed Transition Town Initiative. The Transition Town movement, began in Ireland in 2006 and is now an international movement promoting grassroots initiatives to boost sustainability and resilience in our communities. Come along to KC Peaches this Saturday. European Day for Sustainable Communities, and tell us what moves you to take on today’s big environmental and social problems. Or why not simply come a long to learn more about the Transition Towns and opportunities to engage in positive community action for sustainability! See you at KC Peaches, Dame Street at 11am this Saturday (23rd September)

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September 2017

Dublin South Central Constituency 9/2017

Dublin South Central Constituency 9/2017

Welcome to the September edition of the DSC Green Party group. The Dail constituency area is roughly bounded by the north bank of the River Liffey, Cunningham Road to Chapelizod village, Palmerstown is out but Ballyfermot is in, south along M50, east and north around Tymon Park and Templeogue R112 to Kimmage and north along the River Poddle, Sundrive, Clogher Roads to the canal and east to Harold’s Cross Bridge and north to Christ Cathederal and the Liffey. There are few straight lines as estates are in or out. There are two Dublin City Council wards within the constituency.

As the man said: “If I was going there, I wouldn’t start from here”. Dublin is an old medaevial city; the Wide Streets Committee tried to overlay straight streets and right-angle corners, (like Dawson Street, Dame Street, O’Connell Street, Talbot Street) on the old crookedness, but the old streets remain around Temple Bar, Digges Lane, and streets like Grafton Street curve to connect and avoid old buildings like City Hall, Trinity College, the Rotunda, Christ Cathederal.

We are not anti-car but believe private cars, whether electric or fossil-fueled, should not be allowed to access Dublin city centre, except in emergencies. The modern, clean friendly way – electrical/biogas buses, Luas, Dart, hybrid-taxis, with safe pedal-cycle- and pedestrian-only routes. Night-time deliveries. Priority public buses with less cross city routes. Frequent local bus routes connecting Luas and Dart stops with village centres and estates & appartment complexes. Free car parking for commuters at out-lying Luas & Dart stations. Greenway and pedal-cycle/ pedestrian-only routes along the Liffey, the Grand Canal. Stop illegal parking of cars on cycle lanes and footpaths by allowing/planning for free off-street parking in house-gardens and appartments. So many people work or study in Dublin, don’t need to drive during the week, but use their car at weekends to go home.

What local issues concern you? Contact your Green Rep Oisin O’ hAlmhain

Green Notices in Dublin South Central for September

Parking Day, Friday 15th September 2017
Parking day takes place again this year.  This is the day when parking spaces across the city are turned into mini-parks.  More at their FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/parkingdaydublin/?mc_cid=5c3e043295&mc_eid=4db1b4b49e

Composting Workshop, BridgeFoot Street, Saturday 16th September 2018
Free composter workshop in bridgefoot St. Garden on Saturday 16th of Sept at 10:00 ..tea provided but bring your own packed lunch 😁... Stop Food Waste volunteers are going to be on hand to help

Repealing the 8th Amendment
An invitation has been received to a working meeting upstairs in Arthur's pub on Thomas Street Dublin 8 at 8pm on Monday 18th of September.  The purpose of the meeting would be to establish a broad group to campaign on repealing the 8th in the Dublin South Central constituency.

The annual March for Choice will also be taking place on September the 30th and it would be great to get as many people from our own area in to the march.

Canal clean-up: Dolphin’s Barn, 2nd Sunday monthly.

Happy City book recommended as a ‘good read’ by a member.

The Oceans after Nature’ exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery was recommended by another as worth visiting. “The Ocean after Nature considers the ocean as a site reflecting the ecological, cultural, political, and economic realities of a globalized world through the work of twenty artists and collectives. These internationally established and emerging artists explore new ways of representing the seascape as a means to identify and critique the various interrelated and chaotic systems of power, such as land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, and the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems.”

We have agreed that pub evenings with craft beer on tap is a good Zero Waste experience and endeavor to organise social evenings for members. So keep in touch.

The Scottish government is taking action against plastic pollution by introducing a Deposit Return Scheme! Deposit Return Schemes work by adding a small charge to the cost of a drinks bottle. When you return your bottle to be reused or recycled, you get your deposit back! 5c maybe be nothing to you, but 5c x 20 or x 100 is a big deal for school kids or charity volunteers, just imagine being paid to walk to school through the park!!!

What can we do to reduce Plastics: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/08/our-plastic-addiction-out-of-control-cut-consumption-now?CMP=share_btn_link

An Lianadh Transition Initiative for Dublin is convened by Kristina McElroy, former secretary of the Dublin South Central Greens.  They can be found here on FaceBook and are well worth a follow https://www.facebook.com/An-Lianadh-Dublin-City-Transition-Initiative-139413396598167/

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August Blues

Summer is almost over, the garden is full of ripening beans, potatoes, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, courgettes, blueberries, chillis turning red; the harvest is happening all around, and we’re winding down before starting a new cycle of life next month. One event happening this weekend, 24th to 27th August, with art, talk, theatre, and film is the Kilmainham-Inchicore Community Festival. Check their facebook page for activities

AUG 27th
Waters & Community: Insects of the Canal & Angling
Hosted by Kilmainham-Inchicore Community Festival
Sunday at 12 PM – 2 PM
BERA HALL, top of Connolly Avenue, Inchicore, Dublin 8

Out of all the water on Earth, saline water in oceans, seas and saline groundwater make up about 97% of it. Only 2.5–2.75% is fresh water, including 1.75–2% frozen in glaciers, ice and snow, 0.5–0.75% as fresh groundwater and soil moisture, and less than 0.01% of it as surface water in lakes, swamps and rivers. People who use our waters like the anglers above are often at the front line of noticing what is happening to our water.

The DSCGP and the Green Party in general have, and continue to, discuss cannabis as a medicine with benefits, and/or a recreational drug leading to armageddon and the meltdown of civilization as we know it.

My Canadian cousin has put a short video on YouTube about his town’s cannabis dispensary.  It might be interesting to some as the owner talks about her stock,  her customers, and the future.

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The Camac Valley – Our Local History

Universal Basic Income by Dr. Paul O’Brien
 
We are very pleased to announce that the launch of ‘Universal Basic Income’ will take place on Thursday 13 July @ 6pm in Hodges Figgis. Everyone is very welcome.
This book is about a radical idea: the idea that each of us deserves enough money on which to live – and that it should be paid independently of our personal means, and independently of whether we work, or even want to work. The concept of ‘basic income’ has been discussed internationally and has the potential to revolutionise the way that society functions. It would provide greater security for the young, for the self-employed and entrepreneurs as well as reshaping the social welfare system in its entirety. In this book, author and academic Dr Paul O’Brien explores the arguments for and against the idea and explains how this very real proposal might work in practise.
Local History

The River Camac (sometimes spelled Cammock, or, historically, Cammoge or Cammoke; Irish: An Chamóg or Abhainn na Camóige) is one of the larger rivers in Dublin and was one of four tributaries of the Liffey critical to the early development of the city.

The Camac forms from a flow from Mount Seskin southeast of Saggart, to the southwest of Dublin city, and other mountain streams as well as an 18th-century diversion from the Brittas River tributary of the River Liffey. It flows through a mountain valley, the Slade of Saggart, southwest of the broad Tallaght area and east of Newcastle, then past Saggart, through Corkagh Park and then Clondalkin, near which it is sometimes called Clondalkin River. The Camac then continues on to Inchicore where it is tunnelled under the Grand Canal before a bridge crossing at Golden Bridge. The Camac runs behind Richmond Park, home to St Patrick’s Athletic and gives its name to the ground’s ‘Camac Terrace’, and Kilmainham, where it runs behind the jail museum, before entering the Liffey alongside Heuston Station, a little upstream of Sean Heuston Bridge. The river was tunnelled underneath the railway station when it was built in 1846.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Camac 

map of surroundingsLittle remains of the farms and industry that developed along its banks, and modern developments seems to regard it as a hinderance and not a benefit to the area.  One industrial building remaining is Kilmainham Mills. According to the Kilmainham and Inchicore Heritage Group, it was in continuous use from the sixteenth century until 2000.

Architectural Merits: http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=DU&regno=50080060

The DSC Constituency Group discussed how might the Mills be saved as a local example of our industrial history and operate as a community owned tourist attraction. The following information is taken from an article in The Dublin Inquirer and has been edited by myself for brevity. I’m relying on the accuracy of the original article to give the recent past. In July 2017 the site is derelict.

In 2002, Dublin City Council drew up a conservation plan for the site. It “recommended that the archaeology of the site be disturbed as little as possible and laid particular emphasis on the historical development of the Mill Race when it was internal to the Mill building,” said an Irish Times report in November 2003. The conservation plan listed  structures within the mill in order of historical importance, and was prompted by Damian Shine’s efforts at the time to redevelop the site.

In 2003, then-owner Damien Shine’s company Charona Ltd owned the site and was in line to redevelop it, with plans for 48 new residential apartments. In February 2005, Shine was granted planning permission for the 48-apartment development.  Nothing happened.

View looking northThe debts incurred from the failed 2003 redevelopment eventually came under the remit of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). Charona Ltd was liquidated, and the mills was listed on a 2011 spreadsheet of NAMA-enforced properties, circulated on thestory.ie.

According to  the article,  Dublin City Council and a company named Kilmainham Mills Ltd tried to revive the mill and reopen it as a possible heritage centre.  Anything to do with NAMA seems messy as NAMA are mandated to get the best possible price. A further problem seemed to be that Shine lived within the grounds of the mills and maybe refused to sell or vacate the site. Whether NAMA sold the site and to whom is unclear, as there seems to be no public information.

Maurice Coen, a Kilmainham resident, established Kilmainham Mills Ltd in 2013. The company was set up at the behest of Dublin City Council, according to Coen. “The plan was that [the council] would go forward, purchase the mill and it would be handed over to our group,” he says. “We would then have a 10- to 15-year company contract to build it into a visitor centre.” When Kilmainham Mills Ltd was established, there were numerous EU conservation and heritage grants available. The idea was to fund the centre with money from some of those, he says.

“The mill’s stOisin with Ciaran Cuffeill pretty sound, but the roof is coming in in many, many areas,” says Coen. “My argument was that with every rainfall, every storm, more damage is being caused. The price of reconstructing would be dramatically increased.”

Today, it’s overgrown with ivy and weather-worn and vacant. “It was really stuck in the mud, but now it’s really stuck deeper than it ever was,” says heritage group secretary Michael O’ Flanagan. “It’s continuously deteriorating.”

A local group ‘Save Kilmainham Mill Campaign‘ with a Facebook Page meets monthly in the Patriot Inn.

Another fine example of our historical heritage within the constituency, the Iveagh Market, was discussed by the group. The developer, Mr Keane, won a tender to regenerate the market in 1996 and was given a 500-year lease on the building.  In 2007 he received a 5 year planning permission to renovate this beautiful building, and Mother Redcaps next door, and add a hotel. The permission was extended by 5 years which expires in August 2017, but has been done nothing and during this 20-year period the building has continued to deteriorate. Sad, very sad! As the tennant has neglected maintenance for 20 years, we call on Dublin City Council to now repossess this building and restore it, and the neighbourhood, to its former glory.

 

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ZERO WASTE FESTIVAL IRELAND

The Dublin South Central Green Party members are supporting the Zero Waste Festival in the CIE Hall Inchicore Sports and Social Club, Liberty Square, Inchicore on Sunday 25th June from 11am to 6pm.

Reuse jars for zero waste

Reuse jars and bins for zero waste at home & in the workplace

Join us for the first ever day long event dedicated to Zero Waste! The Zero Waste movement is about reducing waste and living in a more sustainable way. On the day we will have talks, screenings, workshops, meet ups, info stands, a market and a swap shop! Come along to meet like minded people, engage in discussion, to learn and share your knowledge with others. Whether you have been on your journey awhile, are just getting started or somewhere in the middle there is something for everyone! Tickets are just 5 euro for adults for access to all events. Children under 12 are free. All proceeds will go towards making this a regular event.

Zero Waste Ireland: http://zerowastefestival.ie/index.html

Ticket Information: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/zero-waste-festival-tickets-35020450109?aff=es2#tickets

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Reflections on the National Convention

From Eamonn Ryan’s closing speech to the Convention this phrase caught my ear

“Every Community is important and no Community will be left behind”.

Attendance at the Convention in Waterford was impacted slightly by the withdrawal of labour of Bus Eireann drivers and closure of Waterford Railway station, but it was a very positive meeting preceeded by a presentation by Peter Wilcox of Greenpeace on whose boats Senator Grace O’Sullivan once served, good debates and friendship.

A common theme running through the Convention was rural development; many of the problems in Dublin would be relieved by national development of resourses, balancing supply and demand, and ending false competion for those same resourses by vested interests. The lack of joined-up thinking. To quote the ‘Green Party Transport Policy ‘ for one – “The primary role of the State in transport provision is to legislate, regulate and fund, where required, a sustainable transport system for the social, environmental and economic benefit of its people.’ To have public and private coaches and a public rail network in direct competition, in a race to the bottom, on routes between large cities is not the best use of tax money . Destroying local common resources on fiscal grounds insteading of supporting communities to benefit local living is wrong.

Oil is not going to run dry any time soon. But oil, coal and gas are fossil fuels and their burning must be reduced asap, even eliminated, as a key element in climate change; and a cause of illness in public health. Global trends, starting from improved farming and demands for services, are growing cities and towns. But some countries respond to beaucratic centralisation by actively promoting the growth of local resources; high-speed electric-rail serves larger towns, frequent slower trains make local stops supporting schools, hospital visits, commuters, with each stop served by electric taxis, shared cars, post-buses and cycling from rural village communities, supporting bundled service centres (post offices, banks, shops, pubs, etc) for seniors, students and employees in local industry, tourism, farming, horticulture, craft beer, tech and support, spreads population. It is almost a circular-economy already!

Decentralisation will become the trend. Support your local shops, plumbers, growers, garda, bus or train driver living in your community, whether living in Inchicore, Walkinstown or Bohola! Local electric power need not be giant wind-mills; it can be off-shore wind, tidal, solar, bio-fuel, biomass, run-of-river, and construction efficency and refurbishment in building reduces fuel demand, increases comfort, and saves money.

P.S.: The Irish Times of 31st March 2017 reported a speech by Mr John Moran,  the former secretary general of the Department of Finance, in which he said  ‘Ireland needs to “ditch our car-dependent suburbia model” of development and devise a new spatial strategy to take the pressure off Dublin’; ‘To achieve a better regional spread, he called for greater transport options and connectivity between cities. He also suggested that planners should seek to build a counterbalance to Dublin’s power along the western seaboard. “Putting this in place will however require a complete mindset change so that we reward – not penalise – those willing to chuck the idea of two cars and a garden outside the front door, to live the compromise of density rather than choose individualism as their preferred model of living,” said Mr Moran.’

P.P.S.: Where I differ from Mr Moran is to demand greater state investment in rural towns to maximise past investment in facililties, not just in 6 or 7 gateway cities.  For too long the ‘silo-mentality’ of Irish thinking has been to withdraw services from towns and even suburbs. Closing Garda stations to save money, closing post offices to save money, closing bank branches, closing rail-stations, rail-lines, then bus services, closing schools to bus pupils miles, closing swimming pools, etc.  Some have suggested civic offices providing a focal point for services provided by post offices, garda stations, etc. I would go futher tying local bus routes around housing estates and villages to local rail, Dart and Luas stations to encourage population growth and demand for services.

To quote John Moran again: ‘ People want more and more to be able to walk or take efficient and comfortable public transport to their work, the shop, the cinema, to sport and to the crèche. We should encourage this. It is good for the environment and for the rural Ireland we love so much”.

 

 

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Green Party Convention 2017

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s annual Green Party Convention will be held in Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford! We’re holding a series of free public events on Friday 24th March.


The highlight is Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior captain Peter Willcox in conversation with Eamon Keane from WLR FM at 8pm in the Tower Hotel (register here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/greenpeac…), which will follow on from an exciting panel discusson on Greening Your Communities and a family friendly Coastal Treasures Discovery hands-on event at 3pm at Tramore Prom, Lifeguard Hut.

Coastal Treasures Discovery

Ecologist & Environmental activist Senator Grace O’Sullivan will introduce you to a treasure trove of coastal wonders to be found on and around her beloved Tramore Strand. This family-friendly hands-on demonstration and talk is a free event open to the general public.
Meet outside the Lifeguard’s Hut, Tramore Prom, 3pm

Greening Your Community

Discover how communities are reclaiming public spaces, growing their own food, and recycling.
Panel discussion hosted by Maria McCann with:
Michael Kelly, GIY; Edel Tobin, New Street Gardens; Paul Carroll, Rebike Ireland; Mary White, Blackstairs EcoTrails; Cllr. Malcolm Noonan, Green Party.
Tower Hotel, 6.30pm.

In Conversation with Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior captain Peter Willcox

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior captain Peter Willcox will be talking to me and Eamon Keane of WLR:FM about his adventures protecting the environment on the high seas (register here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/greenpeac…)
Peter will be around to sign books and have a chat afterwards.

Register at the link below, and the Waterford Greens and I will look forward to welcoming you to the Déise county!

https://www.facebook.com/events/67597…

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Fundraising Table Quiz on 1st March

Table Quiz Fundraiser 8.00-10.30pm

 1st March 2017

‘The Jug’, 40 Francis Street, Dublin 8

 

With the merry dance the taoiseach is doing at the moment, it would probably be wise for us to have funds to run an election to get a green voice for the people of Dublin South Central.

We are holding a table quiz in the new bar, the Jug, 40 Francis Street on 1st March @ 8pm and we would love to see you there. The Jug is a newly opened pub, and we are delighted to choose it as a venue as it is within walking distance of all city centre buses, and adjacent to a Dublin Bikes station.  We suggest that people find the pub by going through the arch on Patrick’s Street, opposite the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Park, continuing up to Francis Street and then turning right in the direction of the old Iveagh Markets.

All offers of help, prizes etc. gratefully accepted: invite everyone!  More details here and on Facebook as we get them!

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Proposed Cyclists ‘Left turn’ against red lights

At our meeting in September, it was agreed to draft a motion on supporting a change in the law to allow for some traffic lights to be treated as “yield” or “give way” signals by cyclists, based on experience in France.

Motion: That the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas support a change in Road Traffic legislation to allow cyclists, in certain situations, to pass a red traffic signal, but to give way to any pedestrian or vehicle which is already crossing the junction.  These situations would include signal controlled pedestrian crossings, left turns, or junctions where there is no traffic entering or leaving from the left.  A suitable road sign will be placed below the traffic lights to identify such junctions.

Rationale:

  • Traffic lights are designed to manage larger vehicles.
  • Cyclists have more of an instinct for self preservation, as the risks are greater to themselves.
  • The need to encourage more cyclists to use the roads and to improve safety as cyclists are less likely to congregate in blind spots to the left of cars at corners.
  • Physics: cyclists need to summon up physical energy to start/ stop at traffic lights.  Motorists merely have to apply a small amount of pressure to a pedal.

Implications/ Other points/Cons:

  • Cyclists and pedestrians will need to show increased responsibility and respect for each other at conflict points.
  • Big resistance from motorists some of whom will resent being left at lights by cyclists
  • Lack of knowledge of existing road legislation (Advance stop lines etc) by motorists
  • Not the culture of councils in Ireland to do this:
  • On the spot fines, cyclist lights in Dublin which operate at the same sequence as vehicle lights etc.)

 

Article 13 of S.I. No. 171/1962 – Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations, 1962. (see http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1962/si/171/made/en/print ) 3) (a) When a lamp shows a red light it shall signify that the stream of traffic controlled by such signal shall not proceed beyond the stop line on the roadway at such signal, or beyond the signal if there is no stop line.

News articles showing how it has been done in France:

http://next.paris.fr/english/english/cyclists-in-paris-can-now-legally-ride-through-some-red-traffic-lights-in-the-city/rub_8118_actu_156536_port_19237

http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/france-grants-cyclists-right-run-red-lights.html

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